The Volkswagen emissions scandal first broke on September 18th 2015 with the revelations that VW had fitted a ‘defeat device’ to its EA 189 engined models to cheat US emissions tests. Since then, a chain reaction has rocked the VW Group and the wider global automotive industry to its foundations.
We’ve learned of vehicle recalls on a massive scale in the US and across Europe with almost 1.2m, Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT andSkoda cars set to be recalled in the UK. Meanwhile, VW Group offices have been raided by authorities in Germany and France, a new management team has been installed and talk of potential legal action by consumers and large compensation bills persists.
The ‘Dieselgate’ scandal as even called into question the future of diesel cars in the US market and forced a rethink of VW’s future product plans with a pronounced shift towards electric cars.
All this and more is detailed below as we bring you everyting you need to know about the VW emissions scandal…
Auto Express website poll hints at damage to VW brand
A poll of 8,500 users on the Auto Express website has shown that 71% of the public now trust the Volkswagen brand less than they did before. Users were asked, ‘how has the VW emissions scandal affected your opinion of Volkswagen? While 71% of the respondents said they trusted the brand less, 25% said they trusted it the same as they did before and only 4% said they trusted VW more in the wake of Dieselgate.
Could 2016 cars be affected by the VW emissions scandal?
US authorities have been informed by the Volkswagen Group that its 2016 diesel line-up contains an ‘auxiliary emissions control device’ that may help cars produce lower emissions during an official test – this is different to the ‘defeat device’ that was found to be cheating Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests in the US, sparking the VW emissions scandal.
The VW diesel scandal was previously thought to apply to the EA 189 engines fitted in cars built between 2009 and 2015, but now US authorities along with the EPA – the organisation which first uncovered VW’s cheat software – are looking into whether the auxiliary device fitted has been installed to specifically cheat emissions tests.
If this is to be, the VW diesel scandal could deepen with further issues and ramifications filtering across to Europe and the UK. VW has also removed its application for approval to sell 2016 model cars in America, according to VW’s US boss Michael Horn.
Three-point plan to recall UK’s dieselgate cars
In the UK, the VW Group is looking to implement a three-stage plan to recall and repair all 1.2 million vehicles affected by its diesel emissions scandal by the end of 2016.
The Group is currently working with the German Motor Industry Federation (KBA) to approve a permanent fix to the emissions crisis – with the first round of recalls expected to start in the first quarter of 2016. The German authorities have announced a mandatory recall to all of the 8.5 million vehicles in the EU – thus rejecting VW’s proposal for voluntary repairs to the affected vehicles.
However, each EU member state can choose whether to enforce the recall, and according to the Department for Transport (DfT), the UK Government’s stance isn’t affected by Germany’s announcements. A DfT spokesman told Auto Express: “We are in constant talks with Volkswagen to make sure the company does whatever it can to put things right for the consumer.”
In the UK, the first vehicles to be recalled are the EA 189 2.0-litre TDIs, ideally in early 2016, with the rest of the 60 models from the five affected brands recalled and repaired by the end of 2016.
VW’s UK boss Paul Willis has confirmed the 1.2-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines will require a software fix, while vehicles with a 1.6-litre diesel will also need new injectors fitted. This means around 400,000 UK cars would require mechanical changes. Speaking before the House of Commons’ select committee, Willis failed to answer questions relating to whether or not UK owners would be compensated.
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